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The Library of Unrequited Love Hardcover – 31 Jan 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (31 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857051415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857051417
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 1.3 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 856,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Brilliantly captures the voice of a frustrated lady librarian past her prime, trapped in her bookworm world ... next time you go to the library, you might find yourself looking at that mousy librarian twice' Evening Standard. (Evening Standard)

'It has something of the narrator of Notes from the Underground ... presented in the form of a soliloquy, sometimes angry, sometimes pathetic, often comical, as in Dostoevsky's novel' Chantal Guy, La Press. (La Press)

'If you possess a minimum of joie de vivre, it's hard not to laugh when reading' Muriel Daniel, Livre et Lire. (Muriel Daniel, Livre et Lire)

'This little charmer already goes down as perhaps the most quotable book of all 2013. A perfect package of the unpredicted' The Bookbag. (Bookbag)

About the Author

Sophie Divry lives in Lyon, France. The Library of Unrequited Love, her first novel, was a bestseller in France and a boutique hit in the UK.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Sophie Divry's The Library of Unrequited Love is very a short story you can easily devour, from cover to cover, in one sitting. I'll be totally honest here: it's been a while since I finished reading it and I still don't know what to make of this book. What I know for certain is that it's unlike anything I've read before.

Firstly, the book doesn't have any chapters or any kind of divisions at all. None. Nada. I know it's a short book but if you don't have enough time to read it in one sitting and you also happen to have a weird habit of reading to the end of a chapter before setting your book aside (like me), it might make you feel a bit uneasy. Another thing that was completely new for me is narration. It's basically a one-way conversation between the librarian and a reader who has been locked in the library's basement overnight. We know nothing about the reader - not even his or her name or whether s/he's a man or a woman. Everything we know comes from the librarian's monologue, which is definitely one of the things that make this book unique and unlike any other. But again, I still wasn't a hundred percent sure what to make of it. I love how we gradually get to know our narrator and what type of person she is and I found myself smirking (or occasionally nodding) at some of her remarks. Perhaps one of the things I loved the most about this book is how the narrator talks about reading and how she describes what it means to her. She says, "I prefer the company of books. When I'm reading, I'm never alone, I have a conversation with the book. It can be very intimate. Perhaps you know this feeling yourself? [...] When I'm reading, I can forget everything, sometimes I don't even hear the phone.
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Format: Hardcover
Translated from the French, this debut novella from Sophie Divry, is a wonderfully quirky and very engaging story, which I read from cover to cover in one enjoyable sitting.

One morning, a middle-aged female librarian arrives at her place of work and prepares to open the Geography section, situated in the basement of the building. This is the section of the library, we discover, of which our main character is in charge. The librarian, we learn, has worked at the library for twenty five years and she finds the peace and quiet of her surroundings reassuring. We also learn that she needs precision and routine: "I could never work in a railway station: too much going on and the very idea that a train was going to be late would give me a panic attack." Every day she follows the same rules, ensuring she does not draw attention to herself; to be a librarian, she says, it is important to like the idea of book classification and to be of a docile nature: "No initiative, no room for the unexpected." The librarian is, therefore, rather surprised at the unexpected discovery of a sleeping person in her department whom, she realises, has been locked in the library overnight.

Making use of her uninvited guest, our heroine asks the intruder to find a misplaced book by Jean Paul Sartre and then serves coffee from her flask, before delivering a fascinating monologue to her listener, which allows the reader to discover all manner of things about our unnamed heroine.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this is a beautiful book inside and out. A lovely little hardback with a very attractively designed dust jacket, and inside a wonderful novella filled with remarkable, striking observations about books, libraries, love and life.

Sophie Divry's debut is written in the form of a monologue delivered by a librarian in the provinces who one morning discovers a reader in the library who has been locked in there all night. This reader is on the receiving end of the librarian's thoughts; subjected to hearing all about the things she loves, the things that anger and irritate her, and the person who has caught her eye.

I read this book in just a couple of sittings, and many readers would probably finish it in just one. It's a charming and insightful little story featuring a passionate but anxious, troubled and lonely lady. The librarian feels invisible and is unhappy with the Geography section that she has been allocated, longing for her preferred section, History; indeed she divulges some of her views about this topic too. She shares her disapproval of the hierarchy of staff within the library, and her disgruntlement at readers who come to the library and simply make a mess. Whilst she complains about many things to her captive listener, she nevertheless has a strong affection for libraries and books and this shines through.

She has been hurt in love and tells us she avoids it now, with her job helping her cope with all that bothers her: 'the library works like an anaesthetic for my hang-ups.
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